Certificate in Budget & Public Finance

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Budgets from Theory to Practice

The certificate in budget and public finance provides course work in the theoretical and practical foundations of public budgeting and in the formulation and evaluation of public budgets, as well as the complex choices of economic reasoning in response to resource allocation in the process of formulating and implementing public budgets.

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Expert in the Field

Learn skills for today if you are, or envision becoming, a budget analyst or financial management officer in a public agency at any level of government from the #11 ranked program in public finance and budgeting, according to the most recent U.S. News & World Reports ranking of graduate programs.



Graduate Virtual Open House



Graduate Virtual Open House: October 18–28

Registration is open for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) Graduate Virtual Open House! The online event includes program-specific information sessions and opportunities to engage with current graduate students, faculty and our admissions team.

The Trachtenberg School is hosting information sessions for prospective graduate students on Tuesday, October 19, and Wednesday, October 20.


Certificate Requirements

The certificate in budget and public finance can be completed online or by taking courses at GW's Foggy Bottom campus. The courses in the certificate provide a background in budget policy and process, characteristics of public revenue and expenditure, and governmental accounting and financial reporting. This certificate is particularly suited for those who are, or envision becoming, budget analysts or financial management officers in public agencies at any level of government.

Certificate students enroll in regular courses of the Trachtenberg School and earn graduate credit. 

The certificate features one required course and a selection of any three additional options to help you get the skills and experience you need.

PPPA 6005 Public Budgeting, Revenue, and Expenditure Analysis is a required course and must completed in order to earn the certificate. Additionally, students must complete any three other courses from the list below:

  • PPPA 6048  Financing State and Local Government (3)
  • PPPA 6051  Governmental Budgeting (3)
  • PPPA 6053  Financial Management in the Public Sector (3)
  • PPPA 6054  Issues in Federal Budgeting (3) or PPPA 6052  Tax Policy Analysis  (3)
  • PPPA 6055  Contracting Out and Public–Private Partnerships (3)

Admission to the Certificate Program

Students applying to the graduate certificate program in budget and public finance do not need to submit a GRE score. Applicants are required to meet the admission standards for admission to the Masters of Public Administration or Masters of Public Policy degree program.

Relation to the Masters Programs

If you begin the certificate and decide to apply to the MPA or MPP degree program, you must apply by the posted deadline and meet the admissions requirements of the program. Up to nine credits of your certificate coursework taken prior to admission to a degree program will be accepted in the master’s program within two years of completing the course and if a grade of B or better was earned in the course. If you’d like to have all 12 credits apply toward a degree, you need to apply and gain admission to the degree before registering for your fourth course. 

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